Alternative to the streets

guitar alternativeOn Sunday morning Dublin woke up with a massive hangover. Saturday was a Halloween night and the city went crazy and not all of it good crazy. The regular reader of my blog know I love this city. But this weekend things got bit out of hand.

I was playing in the Porterhouse with Sliotar and we had a lovely show. But around the city things were starting heat up. The fire brigade and ambulance service were stringed to their limit, putting out illegal bonfires and fires caused by fireworks,  picking up over intoxicated members of the public. There were even several incidents of stabbings.

Don’t get me wrong, Dublin has its crime problems like any big city. But this Saturday night was mainly due to excess drink and frustrated teenagers. And this got me thinking.

Most of us are so happy to blame the youth of today. Sure we would have never got up to anything like that in our youth… Well some of us anyway… But as much as we’d like to take the whip and lay down the law, we must ask some painful questions from our selves. Is this the fault of the youth, or are we failing the youth?

You see the schools have been on a midterm break here in Ireland for the past week. So the Halloween night landed on Saturday night, when the teenagers had eight days time to get bored, build bonfires and, well… do what teenagers do. Now maybe back in the day, things like throwing stones at the ambulance or the fire brigade would not have been a cool thing, but we got into trouble in different ways as well.

You see, too often these days we think buying the latest PlayStation will keep our kids occupied. It’s the easy option. So now that we are getting close to christmas and many of us wonder what to get our children, let me tell you something from my past.

My teenage years were stormy, my parents splitting up and me moving out of home at the age of seventeen. As a teenager, I might not been able to pinpoint it clearly, but somewhere deep down I knew things had not right with my parents for a while. So it would have been very easy for me to take the wrong path. I could very easily have slipped into that path of getting into trouble, hurting others and my self, desperately trying to get attention… In other words, my life could be very different today. But, and this is a big but, I had music. I know I sound like an idealist here, but I cannot help myself. Music gave me a purpose when I most needed it.

I personally do believe music is extremely powerful thing, but I am not here to tell you that it is the solution to all of our problems. What I am here to tell you, it very much can be part of the solution, along with sports, and other activities we have been doing for years. I know many people who have the same relationship with sports that I have with music. For some it has been computers. But the most important thing is we encourage and offer opportunities.  I believe we need to encourage and offer the youth the opportunities to part take in these activities no matter who they are. I believe this is an investment that will pay it self back in thousand fold. Give the youth an alternative to the streets. Give them a passion.


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE


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